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Optimal Migration: A World Perspective

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  • Jess Benhabib
  • Boyan Jovanovic

Abstract

We ask what level of migration would maximize world welfare. We find that skill-neutral policies are never optimal. An egalitarian welfare function induces a policy that entails moving mainly unskilled immigrants into the rich countries, whereas a welfare function skewed highly towards the rich countries induces an optimal policy that entails a brain-drain from the poor countries. For intermediate welfare functions that moderately favor the rich however, it is optimal to have no migration at all.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jess Benhabib & Boyan Jovanovic, 2012. "Optimal Migration: A World Perspective," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 321-348, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:53:y:2012:i:2:p:321-348
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    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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